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5 most common mistakes companies make when expanding internationally

5 most common mistakes companies make when expanding internationally

Once there is not enough elbow room in the local market, one of the more enticing options is to expand internationally.  However, many companies hit snags pursuing this path.

1. Ignoring the local culture

When Disneyland opened near Paris, it looked like a ghost town. People started showing up only after a crucial change from American fast food to French style restaurants was made. That’s only one example of how ignoring customers’ deeply rooted habits -- culinary in this case -- can make or break a venture.

2. Expecting results too soon

How many companies folded up their businesses before they had a chance to settle down in a foreign country? You won’t find this information in press releases. The mistake? Assuming in the planning stage that the venture will turn a profit in no time.

3. A lack of concern for employees

Elon Musk said "All a company is is a bunch of people together to create a product or service. There's no such thing as a business, just pursuit of a goal — a group of people pursuing a goal." And the goal of taking the business international is one of the most difficult to attain. It’s crucial for the employees to be strongly motivated and also well versed in the local language and culture.

4. A monolingual website

The first impression is extremely important. And in many cases, this is the role of your website. Having a monolingual webpage can put off many potential customers. Many studies show that customers are more likely to buy a product or service if they can first read about it in their native language.

5. Not enough experience

Imagine you want to start to play tennis. At first, you don’t know your backhand from your umpire and you think a racket is only what your neighbors make when you try to fall asleep. What is the best way to take your skills to another level? Hiring a specialist, a coach, seems to be a good bet. In the end, business is a game and the ones who win thrive both locally and globally.